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What’s on this week: 9-15 August

11:47 08/08/2019
Our top picks of events and activities in and around Brussels

As Brussels’ famous flower carpet takes place every other year, the lovely Flowertime fills the floral gap in between. An explosion of colours and scents take over City Hall in the Grand Place, with florists having been given carte blanche to decorate its historical rooms from top to bottom. More than 100,000 flowers decorate the halls, dangle from the ceilings and creep over doorways. Fantastical installations provide a fairy-tale atmosphere as you wander from room to room. There’s no better way to experience this 15th-century Gothic masterpiece of architecture. 14-18 August, City Hall, Grand Place

You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for Fiesta Latina, but get a preview at See U during Open Air Fiesta Latina, a free event by the organisers featuring music, food and good vibes. 10 August 14.00-22.00, Rue Fritz Toussaint 8 (Ixelles)

Leave it to Theatre Royal de Troone to turn the sultry, violent, tragic Carmen into a puppet show. The legendary marionette theatre presents the opera as its summer production. It’s open to all ages, though parents of younger kids might want to check out Guignolet Dans Le Parc instead. (In French) Thursday-Saturday until 31 August, 66 Rue du Marché-aux-Herbes

Brussels Summer Festival

Belgium is reported to have more summer music festivals per capita than any other country in the world. While most of them take place in big empty fields, Brussels Summer Festival moves its revellers among three stages around the city. Get ready to be surrounded by tens of thousands as you move to the sounds of Christine and the Queens, Hooverphonic, Lost Frequencies, Manic Street Preachers and about 50 other bands. Food trucks and mobile bars also abound. Pick up the five-day BSF pass for the best value – and most fun. 14-18 August, across Brussels

Whether you’re heading to BSF or not, stop off at Sablon for the absolutely free Sablon Music Festival. International food and drinks (hello cocktails!) taste even better against a backdrop of rock, jazz and pop. 15-18 August noon to midnight, Place du Grand Sablon

Or perhaps electronic is more your beat? Plein Publiek hosts the free Mont Désir every Saturday this summer. Afternoon and evening dance parties in the open air. Saturdays until 31 August 14.00-22.00, Mont Des Arts

Mohammed El Mahmoudi - Créahm Bxl-A Sougné

A ‘picnic of works’ sounds perfect for a summertime exhibition, and that’s how Art et Marge is describing Lisières (Edges). The curator, Belgian author and environmental activist Caroline Lamarche, has joined works from the museum’s art brut collection with new works to examine the edges between green and concrete, animal and human. There are creative activities for children based on the exhibition on 28 August and a guided tour by the curator on 31 August. (Activities in French) Until 22 September, Rue Haute 314

The Mandir Indian Cultural Center welcomes the whole family to Indian Brussels Mela, a free day of music, dance, craft market sand a range of authentic Indian and south Asian food. 15 August 13.00-17.00, Rue Colonel Bourg 123 (Evere)

For the next three Fridays evenings, Mini-Europe has late opening hours, complete with a special light display and fireworks at 23.00. Next door, the Atomium is also open late on Fridays. Make an evening of it with the whole family. Fridays until 23 August, Heysel Plateau

Looking ahead: Hide & Seek Festival  Tickets are flying out the door for performances during Hide & Seek, the popular festival that sees all manner of musicians taking to unusual spots around the capital. See Finnish fiddling in an old swingers’ club, Japanese koto in a puppet theatre or Albanian a capella in a crossbow club. But buy now; many concerts are already sold out.  19-24 August, across Brussels

Les Fêtes du 15 Août in Liege

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

Liège mixes folklore and religious ceremony every Assumption day to quirky effect during Les Fêtes du 15 Août. Held across the Outremeuse neighbourhood (call it Dju d’la Mouse if you want to sound like a local), activities start days ahead of time, but really heat up the evening before Assumption, with concerts and food stalls lining the streets. The traditional drink, pékèt, flows like water. Finally, on Assumption day, the Vierge Noire statue is carried through the streets. A parade follows, with Liege’s famous giants (pictured above), and it all turns into a big street party. Don’t miss the final day, when black-clad women wail at the sight of Matî l’Ohê – literally a ham – being led to its grave. 10-16 August, across Liège

Antwerp’s open-air music festival Jazz Middelheim celebrates 50 years with  a stellar line-up that includes Stuff., Charles Lloyd, Enrico Rava, the Louis Cole Big Band and a tribute to the late, great Toots Thielemans. Lounge chairs and food & drink available. Live it up a little with a VIP ticket, which gets you unlimited drinks. 15-18 August, Park Den Brandt, Eglantierlaan & Beukenlaan

Photos: Flowertime ©Wim Vanmaele; BSF ©Eric Danhier/VisitBrussels; Lisières ©Mohammed El Mahmoudi - Créahm Bxl-A Sougné; Les Fêtes ©FTPL - P Fagnoul/Wallonie Belgique Tourisme

Written by Lisa Bradshaw